The 19th One Stop Update for the Accountant in the Public Sector

Supporting government action to influence outcomes

Sharon May

Director Corporate Planning and Reporting

Inland Revenue

Sharon has been working within Finance and Performance teams in the Public Sector for 25 years with a strong focus on leadership, financial management, performance reporting and planning. Over the past 10 years Sharon has held a number of leadership roles at Inland Revenue within the Performance, Facilities and Finance business group. During this time Sharon has led management accounting, business partnering and financial accounting teams and most recently the Corporate Planning and Reporting team. In her current role she is responsible for supporting the organisations senior leaders to acheive Inland Revenue’s strategic goals through the development and implementation of an agency wide approach to business planning, multi-year budgeting, performance measurement, and internal and external reporting.

Matthew Needham


Housing New Zealand

Matthew Needham is the Chief Financial Officer at Housing New Zealand. Prior to this role, Matthew was CFO at Department of Internal Affairs. Originally from the UK, Matthew has over 20 years’ experience working in senior finance leader roles at BT, DHL, Experian and Rolls-Royce specialising in business change, cost reduction and re-engineering the finance function

Graeme Osborne

General Manager System Transformation

Department of Internal Affairs

A digital and information leader dedicated to understanding customer and community needs and translating those into effective business models enabled by digital solutions. He has a passion for digital solutions that are intuitive, cost effective and sustainable. Graeme brings a focus on achieving business outcomes through co-design and co-production by engaging stakeholders throughout the strategy to delivery cycle. In October 2016 Graeme was appointed General Manager System Transformation at the Government Chief Information Office and in this role leads the digital government strategy for New Zealand. In his previous role he led the national eHealth Programme which resulted in more than a third of New Zealanders having access to their health information online. Earlier in his public sector career he successfully led the introduction of an online national census in 2006. Graeme has been a CIO in both public and private organisations for 20 years including financial services, healthcare, and national statistics. He has had Ministerial appointments and worked internationally on digital strategy, health strategy and information standards. In his voluntary capability, he is dedicated to increasing the uptake and value of broadband across the New Zealand community which has seen him work in education, health and telecommunications industry reform.

Paul Helm

Head of Government Finance Profession and Chief Government Accountant

Treasury New Zealand

Paul Helm has a passion for strategic financial management and lifting the capability of finance teams across the public sector. He has held his current role – Head of Government Finance Profession and Chief Government Accountant – since October 2014. In this role, he is focused on skills development in strategic financial management across the public service and helping finance teams achieve their potential. He has significant experience in public sector financial management, covering strategic budget management, including managing significant cash flows and borrowing facilities. Paul is experienced at transforming finance functions, procurement and commercial decision-making, including working on large contracts for public-private-partnerships, property and information technology to ensure the best outcomes for an organisation. He has worked across a range of government departments as CFO including the New Zealand Transport Agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Health and was a Director of Audit New Zealand. Paul is also responsible for the Financial Statements of the Government in his role as Chief Government Accountant. These comprehensive financial statements include a full consolidation of all government agencies statements. The team produces, and publishes monthly as well as annual accounts. The Treasury team focused on improving financial analytics and insights across departments (Ministry of Finance Function) is another responsibility of the Chief Government Accountant. This team looks across the system to provide reports on items such as balance sheet sustainability and accuracy of forecast spending. Paul is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand and a Fellow of both CPA Australia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales. Whilst Paul was at NZTA their finance team were awarded “Finance team of the year” across all entities in New Zealand in 2014 and Paul was awarded “Public Sector CFO of the year” in 2013 by the then Institute of Chartered Accountants of New Zealand.

Penny Holden


The Performance Consultant

Master facilitator, high-calibre, industry-recognised trainer, and people and culture capability consultant, Penny Holden brings 20 years’ business and workplace experience, expertise and knowledge. With an extensive background in behavioural sciences, psychology, education and organisational development and people capability, she applies this in simple and effective ways to her workshops and projects. Penny is particularly recognised for her ability to work with anyone at any level with respect and robust, appropriate learning methods.

Ben Gleisner

CEO and Co-founder

Conscious Consumers

Ben is an economist, environmentalist and social entrepreneur. He has founded several businesses and charities, and worked for 6 years at the New Zealand Treasury. He co-founded Conscious Consumers while working at the Treasury, and has grown the social enterprise to a thriving movement with over 20,000 consumer members, 550 retail stores and 150 suppliers. His vision is a world where consumers and businesses work together for the good of people and the planet. He lives in Wellington with his wife and two young children.

Aimy Luu Huynh

Senior Project Manager - Accounting Standards

External Reporting Board (XRB)

Aimy is the senior project manager of accounting standards supporting the work of the New Zealand Accounting Standards Board. She is involved in a number of for-profit and public benefit entity projects at the XRB. Aimy has a broad background and interest in both the for-profit and public benefit entity sectors. Aimy worked in an audit and technical role with a mid-tier accounting firm for a number of years. In this role she worked with entities in the for-profit, public sector and not-for-profit sectors. Aimy was also a key member in the NZ IFRS transition for a large crown entity.

Graham Scott


G W Scott & Associates, Chartered Accountants

Graham Scott is a Fellow Chartered Accountant based in Cambridge, where he owns half a public practice. He became interested in the Theory of Constraints business thinking and used the methodology to put his business on auto-pilot. This enabled him to travel for 9 months overseas with his family, at a time when his business was a sole practice. On his return, Graham studied more of the theory and has now taught it on 8 day “Black Belt in Thinking” courses in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. After experiencing frustrations as a volunteer trustee dealing with the local council for budgeting purposes, Graham decided to apply his knowledge to this area of accounting and enrolled to do a Masters at Victoria University. Applying Theory of Constraints Thinking to the literature, then confirming them with NZ managers and accountants, has given him so insights into why the budgeting process doesn’t always give the results we want and how it might be fixed.

Sara Brownlie

Managing Director

Fargher Woods Limited

Sara Brownlie was the CFO of the State Services Commission and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2012 to 2016. She was also collectively responsible for financial services to the three central agencies, including The Treasury. Sara has extensive experience in public sector finance, budget reviews and business case development. Originally an accountant for Deloitte she has spent over 10 years in general management finance or CFO positions in NZ government agencies. Sara has a diverse background covering project and programme management, data analytics and performance and Ministerial support. She has an in-depth knowledge of central government funding processes and structures. Sara now runs her own consultancy company.

Gaynor Parkin

Founder & CEO


As a respected innovator and leader in the field of resilience and wellbeing Gaynor established Umbrella following the publication of her book I’ve had it up to here: From stress to strength. With over 23 years experience working as a clinical psychologist, and a decade lecturing in clinical psychology Gaynor is uniquely placed to develop effective programmes informed by academic rigour. Gaynor’s passion for working with leaders to strengthen their personal wellbeing and resilience translates into the creation of sustained improvements in organisational wellbeing. Gaynor draws on her psychological expertise to ensure that new learning and skills are translated into sustainable habits and lasting behaviour change, at both individual and organisational levels. Gaynor has provided psychological services to individuals and teams across a variety of public and private sector organisations in New Zealand and the UK. She holds professional qualifications in both countries with UK specialist post graduate training. Gaynor currently teaches a number of courses for Victoria University Professional and Executive Development, including Practical Resilience for Leaders, and is in demand as a conference speaker

Michael Gordon

Senior Economist


Michael has been part of Westpac’s economics and strategy team since 2006. His responsibilities in that time have included currency and interest rate strategy, coordinating the team’s inflation, growth and financial market forecasts, and conducting a variety of research on areas such as the labour market, house prices and macroprudential policy. Prior to joining Westpac, Michael has worked at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as a senior analyst in the Financial Stability department. Michael holds a Masters in Management Studies from the University of Waikato.
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